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Articles    H2'ed 5/23/10

Who's in Charge Anyway?

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Lewis Mehl-Madrona
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Our brains are designed to perpetuate the illusion of a continuous world when the world is shifting all the time. If we struggle to notice what we are trained to ignore, we can gain some insight into the control of reality question. This summer, Barbara and I were staying at a friend's house. We ran the same route each morning. On the third morning, we both simultaneously noticed that the slope had changed. The road to the reservoir was suddenly more steeply down going than it had been. We had changed decisions that morning about where to do our hanbleciya (vision quest). As we discussed this, we realized that we had shifted into another reality. In our earlier reality, the slope was less steep. Our decision had launched us into a different reality. In our new er reality, the road was more steep. We didn't know the significance of this. We could have made up stories and the temptations to do so were great, since this is what our brains do with facts that seem anomolous. In keeping with this version of quantum physics, whenever a choice is made, the universe divides. Each choice happens in one of the two parallel universe. Max Tegmark, an astrophysicist at MIT, has called the collection of all possible universes, the multiverse. What we can do, perhaps, is to align ourselves with the future we wish and to playfully wish we could be there. A Lakota elder told me this. He said to visualize the future as you wish it, and maybe you can get there. He didn't believe that we created our futures, but that many possible futures exist and that we can align ourselves with the one we wish to inhabit. That may or may not work, but it's our best chance.

Perhaps good futures are like good characters in the movies simple. When characters are simple, we can project our own complexity onto them. We can imbue them with our traits. If we keep our possible fitures sufficiently simple, imagining going there is easier.

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Lewis Mehl-Madrona graduated from Stanford University School of Medicine and completed residencies in family medicine and in psychiatry at the University of Vermont. He is the author of Coyote Medicine, Coyote Healing, Coyote Wisdom, and (more...)
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